Case Study: Damned If You Do; Damned If You Don’t Summary: A successful female regional manager of a grocery chain is looking at advancing her career. She has applied to other employment locations while doing so she confides in a colleague about doing so and asks him to be a reference for her. She does not want anyone else in the company to know she is seeking employment elsewhere due to fact if it doesn’t work out it may hurt her chances to get a promotion at her current employment. A young lady approaches her and accuses her male colleague of sexual harassment.Now she is a position to either report him and her reference may ruin her credibility for the new employment or a promotion at her current location, or to keep quiet this lady will have to live through the situation.
Questions: 1. Analyze Fran’s situation in a purely legal sense. Employers in Ontario have a legal duty to take steps to prevent and respond to sexual harassment. They must make sure that human rights are respected. Since she is a manager she has a legal obligation to have this situation investigated and too take the appropriate steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. .
Analyze Fran’s dilemma in apolitical terms. Fran’s dilemma in a political terms is if she is to have the situation looked into she will most likely ruin her chances of having a great reference for the new job she is seeking or ruin her chances of getting any kind of promotion at her current employment. The colleague that is being accused is not only her reference for the new employment, but a close friend whom she will most likely lose if she moves forward and has the sexual harassment investigated.
3. Analyze Fran’s situation in an ethical sense.What is the ethically right thing for her to do? Is that also the politically right thing to do? Fran’s ethical sense of dealing with sexual harassment is to have the situation investigated regardless of the outcome. Nobody deserves to be sexually harassed. The right thing to do is go to Human Recourses to have them proceed with the investigation right away. Politically it is not the right thing to do because she will hurt her chances of either the new job or a promotion at her current employment.
She is stuck between the right thing to do and her personal agendas. . If you were Fran, what would you do? If I were Fran I would most definitely have the accusations looked into and taken care of regardless of the outcome. To deal with the reference for the new job I would be honest and explain the situation to the new employers. Let them know the situation is under investigation and that it is not a normal characteristic of my reference but I had to do the right thing and report it. I would hope the new employers will respect my action and if they do not, it would not be a place I would want to work.
Honesty is the best policy.